Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alito Too Many Questions Left Unanswered

I held off passing judgment on Samuel Alito until after the Senate confirmation hearings because I believe in giving people the right to speak for themselves and set the record straight. I'm sorry to report that after three days of testimony, I know less about Judge Alito than I did before. And that's not a good thing.

First, a few quick observations.

1. Alito first claimed he did not remember joining CAP (Concerned Alumni of Princeton), an all-white male group aimed at ending diversity at the school. Then he claimed he joined, but didn't really participate. Then he claimed he joined because he disapproved of the way the university treated the ROTC. I have yet to hear confirmation of CAP's involvement with the ROTC, outside Republican talking points. Was this a true statement, or yet more GOP fabrication. Without the ROTC connection, he is either a sexist and a racist or someone who would say and do anything to get the job he desired, neither one desirable in a SCOTUS nominee (and we know how the GOP likes to keep their stories plausible, if not legally accurate).

2. While the rigors of hours of testimony were agonizing for Senators and spectators, Alito seemed unflappable under pressure. This could be the result of a naturally calm, judicial demeanor, or an insiders knowledge that no matter how he was questioned by the Democrats, he would receive a free ride from Republicans (and the talking heads all said the Dems had predetermined votes, ha). The one person who did not seem to have been adequately prepared was Mrs. Alito (nee Bomgardner). When Lindsey Graham (R) Florida began to praise Judge Alito for his moral strength and spotless reputation, she began to cry and had to excuse herself. Pundits blamed mean-spirited Democratic questioning, lib bloggers cried GOP set-up, and the women of the View allowed emotional overload. My attention was lost in Sen. Graham's words, which seemed to be a new set of talking-points in preparation for Abramoff-related indictments to come. Crooks and Liars has the video.

3. Russ Feingold (my hero) has some interesting ideas about the people who prepped Judge Alito for his finals. Seems they are the same people who wrote the talking-points for the administration's warrantless spying. Do you think there may be some overlay of information deemed necessary by the administration? DK has the story.

Which brings me to my opinion of Judge Alito and his suitability for the SCOTUS position being vacated by Sandra Day O'Connor. I had a wonderful exposition all worked out in my head about how Alito failed to meet the burden placed before him, etc. and Georgia10 at DK beat me to the punch.

"The burden, from the start, was on Alito to counter his record as a
ideologue. Alito walked into that hearing room saddled with a record as one of
the most pro-government Republican judges in the nation. He walked into that
room with his objective memorialized in black and white: overturning Roe. He
walked into that room already having established his contempt for our system of
checks and balances.
The burden was on him to explain his record. And
he didn't. Because there's no explaining away the fact that he believes the
government can do whatever the hell it wants when it comes to stripping of our
rights. To succeed in these hearings, Alito had to counter record, and he

Let your Senators know - Hell No Alito